Cane Roots Art Gallery in downtown Christiansted opened a Crucian Christmas Festival exhibit on Dec. 13. Gallerist Sonia Deane curated colorful paintings, drawings, and costumes by local artists that can be viewed during the holiday season through Jan. 4.
“When you walk in the gallery, you will be transported into the festival,” Deane said.
“COVID left us longing for the ritual of our Crucian Christmas Festival. This year, the Festival is offered to the community in person, yet the gallery is committed, after its first Festival exhibit in 2022 — to a yearly exhibit inside its walls — to share the vibrancy of the annual event in ‘real time’ for the duration of the season.”
Last year the gallery offered a “phenomenal body of photographic work by Malik Bascombe, David Berg, Chalana Brown and moko jumbie costumes designed by Curliss Solomon and Willard John in ‘Ready for De Road’ exhibit that resonated in the gallery.”
This year, the gallery walls are filled with a wide variety of visual art on canvas and paper. Each corner of the room boasts colorful costumes “reimagined from events in our history and worn in our Sanctuary Troupe,” said costume designer Chalana Brown.
“The idea I would like to have each year is that people will walk in the gallery and become swept up with the joy of the holidays,” Deane said
With congratulations as the order of the day and two years behind her in the gallery, Deane said, “It feels really wonderful to be here in downtown Christiansted. I’m at the end of the last block on Company Street with the Sampson House store at the other end. I’m a distance away from all the other stores and shops further down, in a spot that needs to be revitalized. I’m a renaissance woman and I’m holding strong. I still feel the joy as I did the day I opened in 2020. I’m optimistic about my second year of being here.”
Deane spoke about her clientele and the positive responses she gets from them. “Everyone comes in saying how good it feels to be in the gallery. They talk about what they see me doing for the arts and the community as being a ‘great job’ and that makes me feel like I’m on the right path.”
Besides viewing the fine art, Deane wants people to feel comfortable enough to sit and converse about art, peruse the very good selection of art books she offers, and sip a beverage with her. She enjoys that hominess and she doesn’t want to lose that, she said. “It’s not always about buying art. It’s also about the conversation about art and about life. That feels good.”
Costume designer Brown worked with wire artist Waldemar Brodhurst to reimagine the “Fireburn” costume, specifically “Queen Mary.” “He took the time to teach me wire art and gave me the opportunity to work with him in his studio space.”
The historical events or characters of the Sanctuary Troupe are in the masquerading tradition that they reimagine for contemporary times, Brown said.
Brown is the Cover Artist in the December issue of St. Croix This Week magazine.
The Crucian Christmas Festival exhibit can be seen through Jan. 4 at Cane Roots Art Gallery.
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